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Thumbs! (6/7/12 Edition)

We used to use our Thumbs! often but we haven’t lately. It’s time to send them UP! … or DOWN!.

Let’s get it started…

  • Thumbs UP! to Danville’s Commonwealth Attorney Michael Newman. As I often admit (even frequently to him), I was completely wrong on not endorsing him in the 2009 election even though I did say that he would make a good Commonwealth’s Attorney. I was tired of the Bill Fuller-esque “super tough on all crime no matter what it is” philosophy and I thought that Newman would be the same way. Michael Newman is tough on crime, don’t get me wrong… but he “gets it”. In this Danville Register & Bee article, Newman endorses the potential of a drug court for Danville. Drug use & abuse is s serious problem for Danville (and all of Southside) and Newman’s office sees it everyday, but Newman and his staff know it’s a revolving door at the courthouse and that employers are having problems finding people that are drug-free. Newman has evolved in his 3 years as Commonwealth’s Attorney and coming out publicly on this divisive issue shows his maturity in the office. Newman knows he still has to put society’s violent criminals behind bars for a long time (and he’s doing that), but he also knows that justice is best served with a bit of temperance.
  • Speaking of Southside Commonwealth’s Attorney’s, Thumbs UP! to Halifax County’s Kim White who’s been recognized for her volunteer service to the Virginia State Bar for the past 25 years. White is also a prosecutor who knows how to do her job and how to do it well. A lot of people think that the Commonwealth’s Attorney is the lawyer who tries to get murderers on death row, but the job’s much more than that. White is a stellar Commonwealth’s Attorney and Halifax County is lucky to have her in the office. While we’re lauding White for her volunteer efforts, we’re also going to throw a big Thumbs DOWN! to Richmond’s state senator Don McEachin for yet again torpedoing White’s nomination for a Circuit Court judgeship. Governor Bob McDonnell is expected to give McEachin and his Democratic senate colleagues a theoretical middle finger and put White on the bench with a recess appointment soon.
  • Let’s move from the courtroom to the stage and give a huge Thumbs UP! to Melissa Charles and the Union Street Theatre for the dedicated work they’re putting on in Danville. They just finished an excellent run of “Grease” and still have two more shows for their summer season. If you say there’s nothing for the youth to do while school’s out, Union Street Theatre makes you a liar. You don’t have to want to be on stage to be active in the performing arts and the Union Street Theatre shows that. My nephew is working on the technical side of the production and he’s learning skills that will probably land him a good job in the industry in a few years. Melissa Charles’ heart is in the performing arts and she’s got the skills to teach this community’s youth how to make themselves shine. We’ve given her Thumbs UP! before and we’re doing it again because she deserves it. The community has supported Union Street Theatre in this year’s fundraising effort and you should support them by going to see the shows that they put on.
  • Finally, we’ve got one humongous Thumbs DOWN! to LifePoint and Danville Regional Medical Center for outsourcing their billing departments to a third-party company (If you get blocked by the R&B’s stupid paywall, just reload the page then hit STOP once the text appears). All of the positive public relations and goodwill that Eric Deaton has brought with his tenure as CEO gets flushed down the toilet with the corporate decision to send 30+ employees out the door with the opportunity for them to be rehired by the contractor. I can’t blame Eric Deaton for this as it’s a company-wide decision but unfortunately, he’s going to look like the villain as the long-time employees show up at the unemployment office. Hey, South Boston & Halifax County? These things are going to happen to your hospital once it’s sold to a corporation very soon… and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.
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